Review | ‘Brassy Broads 2.0’ will make you happy, happy, happy!

Brassy Broads 2.0 | The Ellington | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Like any true creative, I barely bothered to read the event blurb of Brassy Broads 2.0. One look at the title image and I assumed I was watching a Drazz show. Who wouldn’t want to see exceptional drag queens embodying female empowerment in a jazztravaganza? But this proved to be so much more!

Three exceptional singers manifesting various aspects of such soulful foremothers as Judy Garland, Nina Simone and Dinah Washington; You could barely contain the passion of Perth Cabaret Collective’s charming band leader Jessica Herbert, who felt every note played by her musical family. I couldn’t pinpoint where the jazz began and the cabaret continued but there was no lack of appreciative murmurs of encouragement from the collective as various members of the nine-piece orchestra launched into mini solos.

Jazz passion expresses itself unlike any other musical medium and accompanied by booze is almost a must. This become apparent in the cheeky pattern of pleas to keep the band lubricated because (and I quote), “the antioxidants keep us young.” Will lock that argument away for future use!

The Ellington Jazz Club is the perfect venue to host such a soiree, providing a casual yet intimate ambiance that keeps you almost toe-to-toe with those on stage. You’re so easily transported back to a past time you never knew you’d lived. The staff are clearly there to enjoy the music as much as their patrons and, on turning to my plus one to see if they’d caught the name of one of the singers, a passing bartender chimed in with fervor to make sure I got the spelling right.

Featuring all WAAPA grad vocalists, Brassy Broads 2.0 certainly doesn’t skim on talent, with each singer possessing a distinctive style reminiscent of their clear influences. National Jazz Awards Finalist, Lucy Iffla, was first to take to the stage and ‘impressed’ doesn’t quite cover the impact of hearing a voice that captures the characteristics of a beloved Ella Fitzgerald.

Barbara Streisand came through in the sultry tones of Leah Guelfi, with a clarity of voice that hinted at classical training as she blew the audience away, particularly in a show-stopping final solo number that hypnotised its listeners. And if you weren’t already mesmerised by the shimmer of sequined gowns, enter the brassiest broad of them all, Cougar Morrison. The magnificent creature whose image brought me to the show, relished every ‘r’ that rolled off her tongue as Edith Piaf was reborn for a delicious rendition of La Vie en Rose.

Cougar’s wit and wisecracking banter kept audience attention firmly on her and included a guernsey-glamour costume change that’d work nicely if anyone ever created West Coast Eagles: The Musical.

But all good things must come to an end, so don’t miss out on the electric energy of the PCC band and a magnificent finale with all three vocalists sharing the stage as two Garlands and a Streisand. It will leave you with a feeling that can only be described as Happy, Happy, Happy!

Brassy Broads 2.0 has ended its season, but you can keep up with the Perth Cabaret Collective on Facebook

Evelyne Tymms completed a BA (Hons) in English and French at UWA with a focus on gender representation and film analysis, and went on to train in screen performance at the prestigious Nicholson’s Academy of Screen Acting. Evelyne has been part of the Perth film industry for almost 10 years and is a copywriter and voice artist for Magic Studios whilst also running personal branding and image empowerment workshops.

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